Friday, March 14, 2008

Who says romance is dead?

Here is what Bush said to some soldiers in Afghanistan today:
"I must say, I'm a little envious," Bush said. "If I were slightly younger and not employed here, I think it would be a fantastic experience to be on the front lines of helping this young democracy succeed."

"It must be exciting for you ... in some ways romantic, in some ways, you know, confronting danger. You're really making history, and thanks," Bush said.

Yes, how completely romantic to be on the front lines of a war zone! I'm sure the families of the 3987 American soldiers to die in Iraq and 482 American soldiers to die in Afghanistan can describe the romance. I'm sure the families of the countless thousands of civilians that have died could give some insight into how exciting it is to be there confronting danger.

But none of that matters to people like George W. Bush just like it didn't matter to the Imperial Britons who used similar language about how exciting and romantic it was to go bring "civilization" to India or Africa or any other exotic location their imperialist wars took them. In fact, this kind of bullshit has been going on for thousands of years. Sometime in the 1st Century BCE the Roman poet Horace wrote:
Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori:
mors et fugacem persequitur virum
nec parcit inbellis iuventae
poplitibus timidove tergo.

How sweet and fitting it is to die for your native land:
Death pursues the man who flees,
spares not the hamstrings or cowardly backs
Of battle-shy youths.

It's worth remembering that there was, in fact, a time when George W. Bush was younger and when he wasn't employed as president. In fact, there was even a war going on then too. What a perfect opportunity for him to see just how exciting and romantic it would be. Unfortunately he missed his chance by using his dad to get him a spot in the National Guard where he could still dress like a soldier but without any of the hassles like showing up and definitely nothing like fighting.

Those who have seen the modern war speak a little differently about how exciting and romantic they found it once they were actually there.
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.



Blogger erin said...

311 days, 6 hours, 3 minutes, and 45 seconds

4:56 PM  

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